from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders for two years,
it was revealed today with the publication of the figures for the
first quarter of 2004.
The pledge was announced in 1997 and scheduled to be delivered by May
2002. It was first achieved in August 2001. Since then, the pledge
has been met for 24 out of 27 months.
Home Office minister with responsibility for youth justice, Paul
'The continued efforts of all the local criminal justice agencies in
making sure persistent young offenders are brought to justice quickly
is to be congratulated.
'The reforms to the way that these cases are handled at all stages of
the criminal justice system that are being brought in through the
Criminal Justice Act can only improve on this success.'
The figure for January to March 2004 was 66 days, the same as the
figure for the previous quarter. Thirty-three of the 42 criminal
justice areas have achieved the target of 71 days or less, compared
to 29 and 31 in the previous two quarters and the monthly figure for
March 2004 was 63 days.
Christopher Leslie, minister for the courts at the Department of
Constitutional Affairs, said:
'The public wants and expects every young person accused of breaking
the law to be dealt with in the criminal justice system quickly and
effectively. This helps minimise the risks of further offending and
provides the reassurance that people seek.
'Improvements in the way court cases are handled have made a
significant contribution to halving the time from arrest to sentence
for persistent young offenders and continuing to deliver on the
'This, in turn, goes a long way to increasing public confidence in
the criminal justice system.'
Attorney general Lord Goldsmith said:
'My vision is that the Crown Prosecution Service will become a
world-class prosecuting service, making communities safer places to
live and work, bringing more offenders to justice and enabling the
public to have confidence in the criminal justice system working for
'The CPS' approach to the Youth Justice Pledge embodies this vision.
Better case preparation, taking on responsibility for charging
suspects in all but the most minor offences so that the case is right
from the start, working as a prosecution team with the police and
helping the courts with sentencing, has contributed to the excellent
results over the last quarter. In that quarter, the CPS took on
shadow responsibility for charging in 321 police stations throughout
England and Wales. The current quarter will see that responsibility
becoming statutory. I am confident that this progress in the way the
CPS operates will continue to be reflected in improvements to the way
persistent young offenders are brought to justice.'
Rod Morgan, chairman of the Youth Justice Board, said:
'This achievement is one that should be celebrated, and I would like
to congratulate all of those people that have worked hard to make it
possible to continue to meet this pledge. As the new chairman of the
Youth Justice Board I am committed to ensuring that this progress
continues. I am particularly keen to see that the pledge is met in
all areas of the country, and will be working with colleagues to make
sure we are doing everything we can to make this happen.'
1. In 1996, dealing with a persistent young offender (from arrest to
sentence) took an average of 142 days.
2. A persistent young offender is a person aged 10-17 who has been
convicted of a recordable offence on three or more occasions and
commits another offence within three years.
3. The Department for Constitutional Affairs statistical press notice
can be found on their website at www.dca.gov.uk
4. The Youth Justice Board (YJB) was established under the Crime &
Disorder Act 1998 to lead the reforms to the youth justice system.
One of the board's main responsibilities is to co-ordinate all the
work on delivering the government's pledge to speed up youth justice.
5. Copies of the Youth Justice Board's guide 'Speeding Up
Youth Justice' can be found on their
website at: www.youth-justice-board.gov.uk